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How Are Soils Identified

How Are Soils Identified

Soils are identified through the New Zealand Soil Classification System and/or through giving soils a common name.

To some extent the names of soils and the classification of soils offer complementary approaches to identifying soils.

Soil scientists tend to use the NZ Soil Classification System for soil identification since the procedures employed eliminate ambiguity.

Common names persist for historical reasons and because using the names of soils is often locally meaningful.

A similar duel system applies to identifying plants and animals - the rodent that accompanied early Maori to New Zealand, named the kiore or native rat, is classified as Rattus exulans.

Te Kowhai silt loam is an example of a soils common name, Typic Orthic Gley is its classification.

Soil classifications are useful for predicting how a soil will behave, because soils with the same classification have a similar range of soil properties.
classified on physical, chemical & morphological characteristics
Flossy Mentions:- a teaspoon of soil contains 100,000,000,000 (100 billion) bacteria!
For further detail on Classifications: refer to Topic: Classifying Soils and from the Introduction To Soils: Identification and Classification

Classifying The Soil

Soils can be classified according to their physical, chemical and morphology/appearance.

Soil order is the highest level of taxonomic unit used in the New Zealand soil classification system (Hewitt, 1992).

There are 15 soil orders, each  of  which is defined by a broad range of characteristics.

Soil orders are further subdivided into more related taxonomic units known as

- soil groups and subgroups

that are defined by progressively narrower and closer ranges of characteristics.

There is a fourth level of classification known as the soilform, in which parent material, particle-size and permeability are used to further identify the soil.
The groupings of the classification hierarchy; i.e., soil order, soil series, soil type and phase; are collectively called taxonomic units.